This is to break my original question into three parts.

I really need your help with this. I get extremely frustrated when I don’t know how to know the right use of these cases. Please extend your help by providing me any websites or tips to fully understand and explore this.

  • This is a time for caution

Why can’t you form a collocation here and say “This is a caution time”?

Please help me as much as you can with sources/websites/ tips/ anything that might help me know how to know the difference and use the right form.

  • 1
    You certainly can say "This is a caution time". We just don't. We use "a time for" or "a time to" when we urge people to take a specific action or adopt a specific attitude in a particular situation. Play time, work time, Christmas time are times set aside for different activities. That's the way we use time, and I'm afraid you just have to learn these uses one by one: there's no "rule", or even a useful "rule of thumb". Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:06
  • Okay. Do you know of a website that shows all of these uses one by one? Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:09
  • You need to edit your question to add is to your examples.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:10
  • I'm afraid not. It would be huge: several times the size of a reasonably comprehensive dictionary. You could get a rough idea by Googling, and seeing how many actual hits you get (NOT that meaningless number Google posts at the top) and who wrote them. Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:13
  • So I should search for "common noun phrases"? Or "Noun collocations"? Or type each word I want to use and find its collocations? Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


The first phrase is OK after adding a verb (is).

In your second phrase:

This is a caution time.

Normally you need an adjective to modify the noun "time".

So this one should read:

This is a cautious time.

If you intended caution time to be a noun phrase (for example if there was a particular time of day that was "caution time", then you could write:

This is caution time.

  • Then why do we say " play time, work time, Chrismas time" ? There is no adjective before the noun. Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:11
  • Please check my edit; these would be like "caution time".
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:13
  • So if it is meant to be a noun phrase, we remove the comma? Can please tell me why? I know that "Caution time" is countable. You can say there are caution times. Right? Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 21:28
  • Which comma do you mean?
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 22:58
  • This is (a) caution time. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 3:53

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